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Loo of the Year Awards encourage special toilets

  • Mike Bone

Since its introduction in 1987, the annual Loo of the Year Awards (LOYA) competition has helped focus the spotlight on ‘away from home’ toilets throughout the UK.

Mike Bone

The awards have a simple objective, namely, to encourage and recognise the highest possible standards and provision of toilets for all types of users, not just able bodied males, females, children and babies but those less able who need special provision.

Six years ago, LOYA introduced the Changing Places (CP) national awards and UK trophy, initially sponsored jointly by Closomat and the Changing Places Consortium, and now sponsored exclusively by Closomat since 2013. Our aim is to further promote the needs of the many disabled people who are unable to use the facilities or take part in activities we all take for granted, because standard accessible toilets do not meet their needs – or the needs of their carers.

Potentially up to 5million people can’t use conventional wheelchair-accessible toilets. They need more space, possibly an adult-sized changing bench, and/or a hoist

In 2015 LOYA introduced the Hygiene Room National Awards and UK Trophy recognising that although many establishment special toilets complied with the requirements of a CP Toilet they could not compete for the Changing Places awards as they were not open to the public. These new awards were introduced to assess the standard of Hygiene Rooms, usually in schools and academies which must meet the minimum standards of Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999.

The Hygiene Rooms must have enough room for non-ambulant children to move around and for staff (at least two adults for a secondary school child using a wheelchair) to accommodate assisted changing. Within this special toilet space is also needed for a fixed or portable hoist, a peninsula WC, mobile privacy screening to allow for supervision while maintaining children’s dignity and fixtures & fittings, grab rails etc. required to meet Equality Act/Document M requirements 

New for 2016, LOYA introduce Space to Change National Awards and UK Trophy. Space to Change toilets plug the gap between conventional (Building Regulations Approved Document M 2013) wheelchair-accessible toilets, and the ‘desirable’, additional, larger and better equipped Changing Places toilets.

The concept enables venues that are limited financially and/or on space to meet the needs of up to three million British children and adults who need changing and lifting facilities for their personal hygiene. It encompasses a 7.5m2+ (3m x 2.5m min) wheelchair-accessible toilet that further includes an adult-sized changing bench and a hoist. Space to Change has been developed with leading Changing Places campaigners and Closomat, who also sponsor this award (Britain’s leading supplier of disabled toilet solutions at home and away).

The need for toilets with special facilities are also promoted at the prestigious LOYA annual Awards Event which is attended by over 300 leading providers of toilets and products and services that the providers need. As a result of this some major companies have now invested in CP toilets e.g. JD Wetherspoon,Asda Stores,Tesco and Morrisons, plus most of the UK’s major international airports, and some 800 other locations.

The Loo of the Year Awards recognise the need, and, by honouring the exceptional ones, hope others will be incentivised to install accessible toilets equipped with at least an adult-sized changing bench and hoist..

Mike Bone Managing Director

Loo of the Year Awards

Closomat Limited, Building 1, Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale Cheshire, M33 3SD